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Teton County coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced on Tuesday that the 22-year-old travel blogger died by manual strangulation and had been killed weeks before her body was discovered on Sept. 19 at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Petito’s biological parents, Joe Petito and Nicole Schmidt, and her stepparents, Jim Schmidt and Tara Petito, were on their way to pick up her remains on Wednesday, Fox News reports. They plan to return to Long Island, where Petito was born and raised, with Petito’s ashes by the weekend.
The relatives will also be meeting with law enforcement for an update on the case, according to Fox News.
Petito’s disappearance and the news about her death have remained of high public interest. Her father Joseph Petito wrote on Twitter after her remains were found that “she touched the world.” He asked people to be “inspired” by her at a memorial in September. He along with Petito's mom and stepparents got matching tattoos in late September to honor her legacy.
She became a household name across the world after a search to find her began in early September. The search began after her family reported her missing on Sept. 11, 10 days after boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, left the couple’s cross-country trip and returned to his parents' home in North Port, Florida without her.
Meanwhile, the hunt for Laundrie continues. He has been named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance, and has been missing since mid September. A federal arrest warrant was issued about a week later for the unauthorized use of a debit card following Gabby’s death. Multiple attempts to find him at a swampy reserve where his parents say he went hiking before he vanished were not successful.
Steven Bertolino, the lawyer for the Laundrie family, told Oxygen.com on Thursday that he had no comment on this week’s developments. A bench to honor Petito is has been approved to be built outside North Port’s city hall building, Fox News reports.
"The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies and Social Media" will air on Oxygen on Monday, January 24 at 9/8c. It's also available to stream on Peacock now.
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